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A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland;
with a Sketch of Its Earlier Annals,
And some Account of the Brothers of the Common Life.

By the Rev. J.M. Neale, M.A.

Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.



At p. 64 and p. 143 I have spoken of the constitution of the Chapter and of the Vicariate.

In 1622, when, of the 285 Canons and Vicars who composed the Five Chapters, of which the Metropolitical Chapter was composed, forty-five only were Catholics, the States of Utrecht enacted that none but Protestants should thereafter be nominated Canons.

Rovenius, to prevent the annihilation of his Church, chose seven of the existing Canons, added four priests whom he had intended to appoint in the months[1] when he had the nomination, and constituted them a Vicariate, or Ecclesiastical Chapter of Utrecht.

Ultramontane writers have urged various objections against this constitution, and the point is a vital one. At the same time, that the arguments urged against the Vicariate are simply used as a convenient weapon, is clear from this. The Chapter of Haarlem existed and exists unchanged, yet Rome equally impugns its existence. Had the Vicariate never been formed, the Chapter of Utrecht would have been equally ignored.

It is said that Rovenius had no right arbitrarily to choose seven ecclesiastics out of forty-five, and call them a Chapter.

But, 1. The greater part of the Catholic Canons were not in orders[2]. They were appointed by the States, when, of course, the question of orders was not taken into consideration.

2. Of the Canons in orders, the greater part had voluntarily resigned their charges, and left the country to avoid persecution.

3. Of those who remained several were old men, who wished to spend their few remaining years in quiet, and would not incur the danger of a nomination to the Vicariate.

4. When Bovenius, by act[3] of Nov. 9, 1633, established the Vicariate as the Metropolitical Chapter, the whole existing body of Canons gave a tacit consent; not one voice was raised in protest, and thus the strongest evidence was given of their agreement to the step.

The identity of this Vicariate with the Chapter is proved, —

1. By the acceptation of its nominees, either absolutely, or the acknowledgment of its right to nominate, by the Court of Rome down to the death of Codde.

2. By repeated and express acts of the Papal Nuncios.

The greater part of the first Tractatus Historicus, and its Monumenta, a masterpiece of laborious research, is occupied by such testimonies.

The last, as we have seen, is that of Bussi, June 21, 1702: “Indelebilis nota vestris tam praeclaris capitulis inuretur.”

Broedersen amuses himself with collecting Hoynck’s various epochs for the destruction of the Chapter. He says, in different places, that it perished in 1580, in 1583, in 1589, in 1603, in 1625, and in 1680!


[1] That is, the Papal months, collations during which had been given to himself.

[2] In 1656, of eleven living Catholic Canons, one only was a priest.

[3] This act is given at length in Tract. Hist. i. 328.


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